College 

LESSONS FROM OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM

One of the best ways to embrace resiliency as you establish your professional brand and seek your first dream job is to identify ‘what’s that one problem you are uniquely qualified to solve?’ For me, the most tangible way to be resilient, especially in times of uncertainty, is by choosing a career that allows me to be my authentic self. For instance, I’m fascinated by the art of placemaking, which stems from my degree in Urban Planning & Development from Ball State University. I get the chance to develop that craft every day in my role at TechPoint as Senior Director of Relationship Management as my team works to ensure Indiana is a top tech hub. The biggest piece of advice I could offer to anyone going through this exercise is don’t be afraid of being a beginner again, because for me, it’s always led me to new and meaningful experiences where I’ve been able to contribute creatively and intentionally to my community.

Lauren Petersen, Senior Director of Relationship Management of TechPoint

Maintain professionalism—do your research on the company prior to the interview and dress the part. It will be a competitive market no matter which industry you’re going into. During the interview, say something that will make you stand out as a candidate (in a good way). For instance, talk about your volunteer experience or your leadership role in a school organization. In the business world, most employers are looking for a skill set fit, but also a culture fit. Be sure to ask questions about the culture to show you’re ready to be a part of the team.

Ali McNichols, Director of Communications at Matchbook

As you enter your field, it is essential to build a powerful network of support. Find a mentor or a coach. Having someone with an outsider’s perspective that you can share thoughts and ideas with is an asset as you are making critical decisions. Allow this person to challenge you to be the best version of yourself. Furthermore, remember to maintain valuable relationships throughout each opportunity. Every job is an experience that will translate to your future goals. Keep your options wide open and don’t be afraid to take calculated risks.

Kathryn Lash, Associate Principal/Principal at Lee L. Driver Middle School, Randolph Central School Corporation and Adjunct Faculty at IU East

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